Wednesday, March 14, 2007

John Blakeman on Egg Sitting and Birds at Storr Lake

Just think, eggs mean we may well have some of these to watch before very long. Keep your fingers crossed.
I asked John Blakeman for his thoughts about egg sitting and whether the tiercel might or might not sit an empty nest while the hen was away.

I think the male will occasionally sit on an empty nest, "replacing" the female. But it's infrequent.

Generally, when the tiercel (male) starts sitting, especially for any length of time when the female is away, there's an egg to be warmed.

For our studies, we've used the female's body posture to decide if an egg has been laid, but this, too, isn't always definitive until the last egg is laid. At the start, with no eggs, or eggs still descending in the female's single fallopian tube, she sits a bit higher in the nest, as seen in telescopic profile. Then, when incubation starts in earnest, with the laying of the last egg, the female really hunkers down into the nest as she puts her naked brood patch down onto all of the eggs. That's when I start counting.

Of course, that presumes that I was able to see the higher sitting posture at the start, and that's not always so evident. And then, incubation can vary by 3, or 4, or 5 days or so.

Consequently, it's just a matter of patiently waiting.

My best.

--John Blakeman

The Canada Geese of Storr Lake
And not only geese, but Hooded Mergansers, Ruddys, and Ring-necks. Unfortunately as I was embeshed in a dense understory of brush the ducks kept swimming off and becoming obsured by it.
Maybe tomorrow we'll get into the my saga of attempting to track down the shooter in the trees.
Why is it I can never seem to have just a nice quiet walk in the woods?

Donegal Browne

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